Monday, October 29, 2007

Yikes I'm on fire! (or why every American (and especially children) need health insurance)

So, generally this trip has truly been lovely. However, in the last week, MommaBean got sick. really, really sick. Not the vomiting and diarrhea sick that I can ignore as awful as it is. But, the fever of 102+ degrees and alternating chills and sweats and such that is actually rather scary. I spent an entire day bringing down my 102 degree fever with Advil and Tylenol every 4 hours and never seeing it go below 100.5. Finally, when it spiked at 103.5, I decided it was time to go see someone. Of COURSE, it happened on Saturday. So, traditional doctor's offices were closed limiting my options. I could go to the emergency room (NOT gonna happen) or find a walk-in clinic. I vaguely recalled being surprised that there was a walk-in clinic in the Wal-Mart near the house, so we called over an determined that they were there and could write prescriptions. I went and saw a very fine nurse practitioner who took my pulse, blood pressure, etc. We talked, did a breath test of some sort, and a strep test.

The diagnosis: double ear infection, strep throat, and a small touch of pneumonia. Wow! I've never had all that at once before (that I'm aware of). Now, just to give you the background, I avoid Doctor's until I can't avoid them any longer. I'm not a "go at the first sign of a cough" kind of person. With the kids, I expect most things they'll battle through on their own and until they are (like I was) running a high fever for 2 or more days, I wait and see.

So, with the handy diagnosis ($45 by the way, awesome price) came the prescriptions. Rx: A super-strong antibiotic and two (count them two) inhalers for opening my clogged airways. (Oh, did I mention that I have an allergy to the most benign mucus unblocker in the world?)

I proceeded to the Wal-Mart pharmacy (which is typically one of the cheapest) and handed in my prescriptions and the "emergency" insurance card and prescription discount card. The end total? Just a few dollars shy of $500! The antibiotic was nearly $300 alone. Honestly, I was shocked and could not believe it. And, I find myself scared for the working poor. Those Americans who are seeing their S-CHiP programs going away because the genius in Washington decided to veto the compromised agreement the Ds and Rs came to. S-CHiP provides health insurance to children whose parents are unable to afford it otherwise. Imagine I were a child of a family who works 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. A huge pharmaceutical bill like this would be untenable. I'd go without the medicines and either a. go to a charity hospital and hope, b. die, c. well, there really isn't a c, is there. George Bush, you should be ashamed!

I thank God that we have the means to pay for this and am ashamed at the lack of understanding W seems to have with the plight of Americans. Perhaps he'd like to share his wealth. For those who haven't followed this, about 2 years ago, he started trying to steer companies and individuals away from traditional insurance plans and toward these high-deductible plans. This is what El 3atal and I maintain for our family. Basically, it covers nothing until we have paid $5000 out of pocket in a given year. If we lived in the US, we couldn't afford a policy like that. So, I just wonder what world he lives in that he thinks he understand and can speak for the average American. For the average American, $500 in prescriptions in one day can feel like a catastrophic illness. It's truly outrageous.

Get it together folks, get some coverage out there for Americans who can't afford it. End of diatribe. Tomorrow we will resume our usual programming of light and mostly issue-free satirical commentary and obvious observations...

Happy pill popping!


At 12:13 AM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Salaamtek, hope you are on the road to recovery.

Alia had a sprained wrist while we were in AL; went to an American Family Care, got one x-ray, a splint, and a pat on the head, all for $279. Ouch. It cut into our Sonic expenditures, for sure.

When are you coming back???

At 12:29 AM , Blogger No_Angel said...

hmm really when you say compromise ms. bean do u really think there is any with a person who vetos a 7 billion a year over 5 yrs bill and wants to pass a $46 billion extra funding for this year for wars ?

at the end of the day thankfully all you had to deal with was a simple flu. now let me ask you this, you know how much a similar medication would cost in jordan (i could venture a guess that its not even half as much) isn't that against free market theory and its just plain ripping off ppl.
i guess there is no surprise when ppl go to canada to buy their medication.
on the other hand you find the lunes who are scared of anything that could be called socialized even tho they barely understand the concept behind and they shoot down any such bills, so all thats left is to be canabalized by the HMO's if u get sick or try to not get sick at all :P

At 1:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salamtik, ya helweh! those pharmacutical companies getcha coming and going. I dunno, tho, I've used (been SUBJECTED to)both British and European socialized health care systems, I'll still take the US's anyday. In Europe they would have given you a nice herbal soother and let you die in a dark room with cold compresses on your head.

At 11:27 AM , Blogger Philip (El3atal) said...

No Angel,

I think you miss the point of the post totally. The American medical system is one of the best in the world for the insured. As long as our family was insured, it was fantastic and I would not give it up against any other. Take for instance the fact that even dental preventative coverage is free as long as it was part of the policy, whereas in Jordan I have to pay 30JDs to get my teeth cleaned.

The problem with the American system is the fact that it is biased against the uninsured poor, which guess what, the Jordanian medical system is also biased against.

As for the billions of USD spent on the war, well, that is a totally different subject.


At 2:48 PM , Blogger No_Angel said...

am i that confrontational here that i always get philip to reply to my comments ?

i swear am not that mean ...
I thought the point of the post is that its so expensive when ur uninsured, i didnt say that medical care in the US was bad just that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies rip the American public, insured or non.

on the other hand ms.bean was saying that mr.bush should be able to compromise and i just stated what is relevant, that in the span of a week from the time the schip was vetoed he wanted to pass the extra war funding bill so obviously thats where his priorities lay and not towards what matters IMHO
so i don't find it out of scope at all

anyways hope u get well soon forgot to mention that earlier :P

i can't help to point out a lil easter egg in ur comment its free as long as i paid for it to be included in the policy does that make no sense to anyone other than me ??

At 3:36 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

UmmFarouq, just be glad there were no prescriptions involved :)! We're doing well and will be home shortly.

No Angel, I have to admit that at first I was confused as to where you were going just like El 3atal. Then I reread the thing you said about Senor Bush and realized what you meant. Yes, i agree it should NOT be a surprise that this man would veto healthcare for poor children to pay for an un illogical, unjust war. And yet, c'mon...

Oh, and El 3atal's comment is talking about the fact that in the US, you can buy a policy (like ours) that is major medical and doesn't pay until you hit a high deductible. That applies to dental care as well. Most people do seem to have preventative care covered.

Kinzi, I'm with no. My only actual complaint about the healthcare system is that so few people can realistically be part of it. Oh, and that foolish selfish person who is making it even harder for children to get quality healthcare...

Thanks all for your wishes of good health!

At 1:38 AM , Blogger Philip (El3atal) said...

No Angel,

Yes you are confrontational, but that's ok. Most Arabs, including me are (now watch all the hate mail that I'll get over this comment :)).



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